Hurricanes Hunters v Regional XV
We just returned from that Hunters v Regional XV game.
I’ll start with the bad news.
At the end of the first half, I witnessed a big collission between a Hunters player and some of the big opposition forwards. It didn’t end well for the Hunter, who I think was knocked out. It wasn’t foul play (in fact, the Regional XV got the penalty), just accidental. After what seemed like a long time, I finally saw the player move his legs which is a good sign, but by then he was already wearing a neck brace. He was stretchered off the field after 15 minutes and left in an ambulance. At first I couldn’t see who it was, except that the player had red hair. That narrowed it down to Ruben Love and James O’Reilly. I think I heard someone say “Rubes” and that was confirmed at the beginning of the second half, when I saw O’Reilly standing on the sideline.
So it looks like Ruben Love may be out for a while, with either concussion or a neck injury.
Now, briefly about the game. It was closer than the full time score suggests, particularly in the first half. In fact, for most of the first half, Regional XV was ahead on the scoreboard. At the end of the first half, fatigue started setting in, and the Hunters scored a few quick tries, giving them a 22 - 17 lead at half time.
The Hunters had the upperhand in the second half (having changed the entire frontrow at the break), but not significantly, until Regional XV changed its frontrow around the 60 minutes mark. From then on, the Hunters’ scrum was much better and that of the Regional side crumbled. The fact that it didn’t become a blow-out score was due to some good defence from Regional XV, who still managed to score a try in that second spell.
I’ll only mention a few players; I couldn’t look at all of them.
In the first half hour, Patafilo stood out in the Hunters’ backline. Visinia was also good. Orbyn Leger didnt play, so Morgan started at 10 and he struggled a bit. He missed all three conversions and then Toala took over the kicking, with more success. I’m not blaming Morgan for the average first half, but he has definitely still a lot to learn. I didn’t notice Also much until the end of the first half, when he scored a try. Toala was outstanding, easily the best back from approx. the 30-minute mark. He limped a bit at the end of the second half, but continued playing. Of the pack, Mitchell and Laubscher looked handy.
In the second half, the Hunters dominated more, but it’s hard to say who can take the credit for that. Part of it was just Regional XV going down a level once their reserve forwards came on. Thompson looked strong.
About Regional XV, Kereru-Symes easily matched O’Reilly and had a great work-rate; line-outs went well. He was part of the reason why Regional XV played so well that firs half. The biggest surprise to me was LH prop Paula Latu, who scored the first try of the game. He was pretty fast. He held more than his own against Tavita Mafileo. Bas Visinia marking Danny Toala was interesting, but Toala doesn’t have to fear for his spot in the Magpies squad. I didn’t see exactly when McClutchie came on, but he did well in a Regional XV side that started struggling by then. He missed a conversion, but made some good clearing kicks and touch finders. Was also quite vocal on a couple of occasions, bossing his team mates haha.
I tried to see who the try scorers in the game were, but I may have one or two wrong (esp with some named players not playing and not knowing their replacements):
Hunters: Patafilo (2), Aso (2), Visinia, Laubscher and no. 19 (definitely not someone named Tuatuvalu) tries; Toala (2) con.
Reg XV: Wild (2), Latu, Tofa tries; Cruden con